Barking Jetta

I have been driving my husband’s Jetta while he was away fishing. When I accelerate from 10-20 rpm there is a noise that sounds like a dog barking! He listens to the radio so loud, he didn’t notice it. He just took it in, the VW dealer service said they heard it, but can’t figure out what it is. Said something about the starter, which to me seems crazy. It is especially loud when accelerating and turning left, and seems to be coming from the left rear. Everyone I put in the passenger seat can hear it and can’t believe it actually sounds like we are driving by a barking dog outside. Frustrated with the new genre of mechanics who are computers who have no intuition! Any clues would be helpful.

You have to realize that unitized body structures, such as that on the Jetta, can transmit noises to places other than where they originated. However, if it really does sound like the noise is coming from the left rear area of the car, then any connection with the starter is very questionable.

Anyway, if the folks at the dealership told you that they don’t know what the problem is, but that it might involve the starter (when the car is moving at 10-20 mph!), then it seems pretty clear that they really don’t know what the problem is.

I would say that it is time for you to seek out an independent VW specialist. Most people can find one within 20 miles or so of their home, so hopefully you will be lucky enough to find one close to home also. An independent shop is more likely to use diagnostic methods other than solely relying on computerized equipment, and they are likely to charge far less than the dealership for whatever repairs are needed.

Incidentally, in case you were not aware of it, VW is reknowned for having the absolute worst dealerships in the country, in terms of their competence and in terms of how they treat their customers. Surely that is the reason why so many communities have independent VW specialists.

Thank you. I worked on my own cars in college, (several VW bugs) so I was already wondering what they were talking about re: the starter…and I always used independent mechanics. They are more fun to discuss things with if you find a good one, so I was heading that way, asking a few friends for referrals. I was thinking more of differential type problem…car has 67k mi.

It may be a differential problem, but since the Jetta is a FWD car, that would prove my theory about noises being transmitted to different areas by the unitized body structure. Truthfully, I don’t think it is a diff problem.

Something to consider is the possibility that this could have something to do with the evaporative emissions system, which routes gasoline fumes from the gas tank to the carbon canister under the hood. The movement of these fumes could possibly cause some strange noises, especially if a valve in the evap lines is defective or if one of the lines is constricted. Just a theory, of course.

Or maybe there’s a dog barking in the trunk.

The Hound of the Baskervilles?

I think you are on to something…I failed to mention that the car also hesitates over 50mph, especially at altitude. We live at 5k and last weekend I drove alone to 10k and it happened a lot. 55-80mph. I had a Volvo do that and it was the emissions. BTW- I had my husband mention this also to the dealer service and they said they didn’t see anything…so thanks, I have already talked to an independent and will relay this info. thanks a lot.

Trust me, I cleaned out everything in the trunk. Years ago, my dad had a 1973 Impala that he took to several mechanics and couldn’t figure out the noise. I discovered a bottle of brake fluid that was rolling around in the trunk!!
Even my cattle dog notices the barking and her ears go up!

Hmmm…More evidence that it may be the evap system.
These infernal devices cause a huge number of problems!